A viticultural area for American wine is a delimited grape-growing region having distinguishing features as described in the Code of Federal Regulations. These designations allow vintners and consumers to attribute a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of a wine made from grapes grown in an area to its geographic origin. California has the most AVAs, with 138.
The establishment of viticultural areas allows vintners to describe more accurately the origin of their wines to consumers and helps consumers to identify wines they may purchase.
source: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
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